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How to plan sustainable events in Scotland

creating sustainable events in Scotland

Scotland, with its rugged landscapes, rich history, amazing local cuisine combined with accessibility and eco-friendly venues, is a great choice for those seeking to host events with a conscience.

Scotland offers historic cities, castles, distillery tasting experiences, golf, spas, mountain biking, fishing, falconry, off-road driving, wild swimming and Munro-bagging (mountain climbing) in some of the most beautiful countryside in Europe, but it also stands out as the perfect destination for hosting sustainable events. From the lofty peaks of the Highlands to the vibrant streets of cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland offers a tapestry of experiences woven with sustainability and wellbeing in mind.

Highland Rewilding: Restoring Nature’s Splendour

At the heart of Scotland’s sustainable ethos lies rewilding; a passionate endeavor to repair and rejuvenate the country’s ecosystems. Participants can actively engage in conservation work, fostering a profound connection with nature and local communities. Journey to Alladale Wilderness Reserve (an hour’s drive from Inverness in the Highlands) spanning 23,000 acres of untamed wilderness, where efforts to restore native species and habitats thrive amidst breathtaking landscapes. Guests are able to visit the wildcat enclosure to see the success of the breeding project to restore native species such as the Scottish wildcat, as well as supporting the planting of native trees, peat land restoration and other wildlife projects.  There are only 6 bedrooms in this former Victorian hunting lodge so it’s an incredible experience for small groups.

Wherever you host your event in Scotland you’re not far from epic sweeping landscapes, from mountains and hills to glistening lochs, seas and rivers but for those who prepared to travel further, the far-flung Outer Hebrides await for the ultimate off-the-beaten track adventure with shallow turquoise lagoons perfect for exploring by kayak; you’ll spot seals, otters and eagles and with a bit of luck you might event glimpse dophins and basking sharks as you paddle through sea caves, rocky archways and huge stacks. An incredible experience and chance to let nature help you wind-down and introduce some wellbeing into your event.

Scottish Slow Food: Embracing Sustainable Gastronomy

Scotland’s abundant landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for the Slow Food Movement, emphasising locally sourced ingredients and minimal environmental impact. 100-mile menus showcase the best of Scottish produce featuring seafood from the lochs, meat and dairy sourced from local high-welfare, low-impact farms and foraged herbs and even water from the nearby hills. By indulging in Scotland’s culinary delights, delegates and guests not only nourish their bodies but also support local farmers and reduce their carbon footprint.

Small groups can stay at the Saorsa 1975, the UK’s first 100% plant based hotel. Its all-plant ethos covers not just all you’ll eat and drink but the overall approach of the place, where every element, from the bed linen to the booze, is vegan. Located in Perthshire you’ll find mountains, lochs, rivers, waterfalls – and of course, the forests that have given Perthshire the nickname of ‘Big Tree Country’ all on your doorstep to explore. On the way to Aberfeldy, you’ll drive through Grandtully and pass The Highland Chocolatier which has won over 45 international awards and has the world’s best truffles (including vegan options).

Climate-Conscious Venues: Pioneering Sustainability

Scotland’s event venues lead the charge in sustainability, incorporating eco-friendly practices and renewable energy solutions. From P&J Live, Aberdeen’s event centre that uses local renewable resources and advanced technologies to produce enough power to sustain its operations, and reuses nearly all materials used on property to the Edinburgh International Conference Center that uses electricity generated exclusively by renewable sources and has the Green Meetings seal of approval, there’s a huge choice of venues that prioritise environmental sensitivity without compromising on quality or comfort.

In fact, according to The Guardian, Edinburgh is the greenest city in the UK with 49.2 % of green space surrounded by an impressive combination of historic and modern buildings, many of which have been transformed into renowned venues, including the National Museum of Scotland, The Assembly Rooms and Dynamic Earth. If you’re looking for something outside the city then Winton Castle exemplifies environmental stewardship with renewable energy contributions, showcasing how historical landmarks can embrace modern sustainability practices and is a great option for corporate events, including conferences and away days.

If your brief is for luxury accommodation then the 5 star Ness Walk in Inverness sets the standard for luxury accommodations with a strong focus on sustainable initiatives. Through initiatives like eco-friendly practices and community engagement, Ness Walk offers a sanctuary for guests seeking both comfort and conscience.

Innovative Spirits and Sustainable Activities: Cheers to Sustainability

Scotland’s renowned distilleries offer more than just whisky; they champion sustainability and innovation. Embark on a journey to Arbikie Distillery, nestled in the picturesque Scottish Highlands, where groups can indulge in climate-positive spirits like Nàdar Gin, crafted from peas and sustainable farming practices.

Scotland is of course famous for its whisky distilleries, but gin is also a booming business; in fact 70 percent of gin in the UK market is produced in Scotland. While three of the biggest gin brands are all produced in Scotland it’s the smaller producers that are the most sustainable with their unique and adventurous flavours and enterprising methods of making their products. Many artisan gin-makers utilise local ingredients, such as heather and sap from silver birch trees and are created using recipes passed down through the generations, made with local passion and a sense of place. A Scottish gin distillery tour is a great educational and fun experience. Arbikie Distillery’s Nàdar Gin, the first climate positive gin in the world (made from the humble pea) epitomises innovation and sustainability. Groups can embark on a journey to Arbikie, nestled in the picturesque Scottish Highlands, where they can not only enjoy fine spirits but also learn about sustainable farming practices firsthand.

Sustainable Travel

With travel a significant contributor to an event’s carbon footprint, Scotland’s accessibility offers a sustainable solution. Hop aboard the Caledonian Sleeper at London’s Euston station and wake up to the wonders of Scotland, minimising environmental impact while maximising comfort and convenience. You can even hire your own carriage on Caledonian trains (including steam options), which is a great way to transport groups and bring people together, making the journey as memorable as the event. Scotland is also home to one of the most famous-trains of all, the Jacobite, better known as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films. Whilst sadly in real life there’s no wizarding school at the end of the track, there’s certainly magic to be experienced as you travel lochside from Fort Williams to coastal Mallaig, taking in the dramatic Highland landscapes and crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct, granting views of Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan Mountains.

Interested in learning more about hosting sustainable events in Scotland? Reach out to the Evolve Events team today to start a conversation about creating memorable and sustainable experiences. And if you’re looking for some inspiration then discover some of our favourite sustainable destinations for events. Together, let’s shape the future of events.

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